Texas Conservative Christian Mother Speaks Out Against SB6 "Bathroom Bill"
I am so proud to live in a country that cares so passionately about the safety of our children. This is a great starting point we can use toward common ground.
I am a registered Republican. I am a Christian. I have a degree in Health Science. I am the mother of a transgender child born Joseph Paul who we now call Kai.
From my earliest memories, I noticed the nature and temperament of this child was more similar to my daughter than to my sons. Around age two, a family member asked me if my child was gay because of her flamboyantly feminine mannerisms and love for all things girly. Not long after that, a friend who is a Christian Psychologist who works predominantly with children asked me if I had noticed anything about my child that was different and went on to discuss some of the science behind gender dysphoria. In my ignorance, I immediately began to google conversion therapy. Not the real science and risk behind it, but how to implement it.
I asked our daycare to put away all girly toys. When my child consistently and persistently insisted, “I am a girl”, the adults in her life would get down on her level and look her in the eyes and firmly tell her, “No, you are a boy”. My child went into depression. It is very difficult to witness depression in a formerly joyful toddler. Haircuts became a nightmare of horror movie screams of, “Stop. Stop. Please don’t mommy. Please don’t let them cut my hair.” But I was adamant this child was going to have a flattop. This child would never get a single toy that she wanted, nor the birthday party theme she asked for.
One Monday afternoon I picked up my sobbing child from daycare. Her best friend had her 4th birthday party and we were not invited. The party had been the center of our conversations for weeks. Kai picked the perfect gift and gift bag and we waited for our invitation to get the details. I remember looking in the rearview mirror and seeing this sweet crying face as she said, “Her daddy said I couldn’t go to the party because it’s a girl party and I’m a freak.”
My sweet child began praying for Joseph to go to Heaven and live with Jesus. Kai was begging the Lord to let her die. Moments like these helped me to realize transition was necessary. I didn’t know how to do it. I just knew I needed to help my child.
I read research and studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association, and the University of Washington. If you don’t understand why the transgender community is fighting so adamantly for our rights, try reading any of the reputable material available. I repeatedly watched the Jazz Jennings family interview which had made me so righteously angry when it aired the first time, and I reached out to advocate moms of transgender children like Debi Jackson and was loved and supported by secret groups of loving, hurting, and prayerful Christian moms of LGBTQ children. Our own secret persecuted church. I’ve watched as our safe places to fellowship together, Freed Hearts and Serendipitydodah for Moms, have grown to more than 2,000 Christian members and growing.
Prior to our first outing with my child in a dress, I asked my adolescent son to talk to me about how he was feeling and would he be embarrassed to be seen with his brother in a dress. He said, “Mom. It’s embarrassing that you make him wear boy clothes.” My adult daughter commented, “Well mom, we’ve always known.” It is in these moments when I realized my child wasn’t the one transitioning. I was.
At the beginning of this process, transgender wasn’t really anything people were paying attention to. That was two years ago. When we “came out” last year to those who are closest to us, our country became a hostile environment for my family. Extended family, friends, and fellow Christians have disowned us and continue posting hurtful things about a subject they have not educated themselves about. Imagine seeing a post by someone you care for saying, “If I ever see a guy in a dress in the bathroom with my kid they will need a stretcher” and then realizing it is your child whom you love who is the guy in a dress they have just threatened. We have lost family. We have lost friends. I have had my fellow Christians tell me I’m going to hell and that I am turning my family over to Satan. I have grown so weary of, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” You are talking about a 5-year-old who is committing no sin by being her authentic self. The Bible tells us some are born this way, some are made this way. My child is fearfully and wonderfully made for a time such as this.
We are private people. We are lifelong Republicans, we are Christian. We are a Houston area family who only want to protect our daughter and live quietly. We did not want to speak out publicly, but the Lt. Governor has forced us out of our private lives and into the public arena to protect our daughter.
This is the face of a transgender child in Texas. I want Texans to look at my little girl’s photo. Do we as a state really want to force her to go into the boy’s bathroom? Why are we targeting innocent children for political games? SB 6 puts my child’s life in danger.
To those who love us and stand by us through this storm, I know this has challenged your beliefs. I know this has been hard for you. I thank you for loving us and praying for us and taking time to educate yourself.
To the Church, come. Let us reason together. Let us be on the right side of history. Civil Rights were not about water fountains in the 60’s and they are not about bathrooms now. There is so much more at stake.
To the LGBTQ community, I’m sorry. I am so sorry for every time I plucked a Bible verse out of context and I hurt you with it. I was a hateful reflection of a loving God. Please forgive me.
My number one job in life is “a mom” and I am speaking out to protect my little girl. I urge Lt. Governor Patrick and other leaders to sit down with me and families like mine and educate themselves about transgender children.
Kimberly Shappley was featured on the Today Show this morning. Watch her tell her story in the video below: